By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Soon you will be able to fly into Boca Raton from an international flight.
The Boca Raton Airport will open its 4,400-square-foot Customs and Border Protection Facility this spring.
The $4.5 million project will allow people to fly directly into the city’s airport and clear customs without having to go to another airport first.
Funded through a grant from the state’s Department of Transportation and the Boca Airport Authority, no local tax money was used to pay for the facility.
With a modern feel, the building was built with LEED standards and welcomes visitors to Boca Raton with a bright painted wall.
Divided into two parts, air and land, the facility will be able to process folks coming into the city by boat and by plane.
The office will be staffed from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday to Monday.
Boca Airport Authority Executive Director Clara Bennett said being open on the weekend is something that was highly sought after. She said rates were kept competitive to sway people to use the new facility over Palm Beach International or Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
Through July, there will be a discount offered on fees. The regular charge is $15 a person for boaters that will be reduced to $7.50. The fees for planes, ranging from $50 to $425, will be cut down to $25 to $212.50.
The fees will help offset the cost of Customs and Border Protection services.
On the air side, the tarmac can hold two large planes or six to eight smaller planes. Inside, there is an area to fill out declaration forms, a passport control desk that will be manned by customs agents and a luggage inspection area.
If a passenger doesn’t pass inspection, there are rooms in the back for interviews and a holding cell.
A study that looked at the feasibility of adding a customs center that was completed in 2014 predicts that 700 annual flights will visit the facility. That averages to three flights per day. The study also estimates that 350 boaters will clear customs paperwork at the facility each year.
Boaters will no longer have to schlep to Palm Beach if they are required to come into a customs facility for an in-person clearance after entering the country.